St. Baldrick’s raises more than $27,000

Around 60 students and adults shaved their heads in Wilton High School’s cafeteria for the school’s 10th annual St. Baldrick’s event on March 15.

The proceeds from the event, which had been rescheduled from March 13 because of snow, go to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in raising awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer.

Since its founding in 2000, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has raised more than $50 million, with more than 390,000 heads shaved in 18 countries.

Five local barbers did the head-shaving at Wilton High School this year:

  • Agron and Kreshnik Komoni and Dawn Pazar, of Agron’s Barbershop.

  • Carline Dean, of Illumination Salon & Color Bar.

  • Gerald Ventrella, of Branchville Hair Design.

After becoming the first girl to participate in the high school’s St. Baldrick’s event last year, Wilton High School student Jasmine Whittaker decided to do it again this year.

“I first decided to shave my head last year to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer,” Jasmine, now a junior, told The Bulletin. “I also wanted to show that girls could participate in the program, as it had never been done before and there seemed to be a stigma around girls shaving their heads.”

This stigma, she said, “also extends to women who have lost their hair unwillingly due to chemotherapy.”

Jasmine said St. Baldrick’s has become an annual event for her.

“I decided I wanted to do it again as soon as I shaved my hair last year,” she said. “It’s a fantastic program that raises money, awareness and promotes solidarity for children with cancer.”

Not only did this year’s event see slightly higher participation but also the school surpassed its $20,000 fund-raising goal, said senior Johnny Maggio, one of the event’s student organizers.

“Everyone’s done really good at fund raising individually,” he said.

As of March 19, the school had raised more than $27,000 — about $1,000 more than last year.

Reed C. Dempsey, founder of the Wilton High School event, said St. Baldrick’s here has grown in “a number of ways” since the first head-shaving event, which had between 25 and 30 shavees and brought in less than $20,000.

Not only has the number of participants grown, he said, but “the last three years have each [raised more than] $28,000.”

“I think the most exciting part of the 10-year history of St. Baldrick’s at Wilton High School is not how it has changed,” said Dempsey, “but rather how it has stayed the same and has consistently brought together new groups of students to raise money for childhood cancer research and push them to do something bigger than themselves.”

Dempsey said he decided to bring St. Baldrick’s to the high school after participating for two years as Brent’s Warriors at events in Fairfield.

“I thought it was time to branch off from the Team Brent event and start an event in Wilton,” he said.

“During my first three years of shaving, I kept preaching that the twin goals of St. Baldrick’s were to raise money and to raise awareness of the need for children’s cancer research. Bringing the event to WHS seemed like the perfect way to involve more of my peers and help raise awareness in Wilton.”

To learn more about St. Baldrick’s, visit